Many things can impact child custody cases. What about a child’s thoughts on where they want to live? Do courts take kids’ preferences into account in custody matters?
Here in New Jersey, they generally do, as state custody law includes a child’s preferences among the factor courts are to consider when making custody decisions. However, there are a couple of caveats to note when it comes to this.
One is that such preferences are only considered if the child is capable of forming an “intelligent decision” on the matter. The factors that are to be used in determining this are a child’s capacity to reason and his or her age.
Another thing to remember is that this does not mean the child gets the ultimate say in what custody arrangement is reached. For while a child’s preference is a factor courts are typically to consider, it is not the lone deciding factor. Rather, it is one of many factors courts are to give thought to when deciding what would be in a child’s best interests. New Jersey law lists over a dozen factors for courts to consider in custody matters, and allows courts to take into account other factors beyond these.
The fact that so many factors can play a role in child custody cases can leave New Jersey parents with many questions regarding what their family’s particular situation will mean when it comes to child custody matters. Such questions can be taken to skilled New Jersey family law attorneys.